News: Army Reserve-PR troops conduct demining training in Ecuador
QUITO, Ecuador- A detachment of soldiers assigned to the 471st Engineer Company, 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve Puerto Rico, trained 30 soldiers from the Ecuadorian Army on humanitarian demining operations, in coordination with the U.S. Army South July 15 to Aug. 3.
The troops assigned to the largest federal US Army Command in the region, whose ability to speak Spanish proved to be crucial during this mission, trained their Ecuadorian counterparts in landmine clearance, mine risk education, and victim assistance.
"I think we are blessed to be bilingual and have the opportunity of joining the U.S. Army", said Sgt. Gustavo Burgos, who has served in the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico for 21 years.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Ecuador has anti-personnel landmines along its 79 kilometer border with Peru, a result of a long-stand¬ing border dispute that esca¬lated into a brief war in 1995.
As of Dec. 31, 2008, 6,113 mines over an area of 517,312 square meters remain to be cleared. The area affected by mines is sparsely populated; however the mines significantly affect indigenous tribes’ access to their traditional farming and hunting land. The challenges to mine clearance operations are the steep terrain, lack of road access, and frequent flooding.
"We go to the States, we receive the best training in English, and we bring it back, we take it to Latin American countries and make it available in Spanish. That is something extraordinary, because we are contributing, maybe a little bit, to improve other people’s lives. I think this is what is about, to save lives and that everyone has better life, that’s what is important, "said Burgos.
By participating in this mission, the soldiers from the largest U.S. Army Reserve Command in the Caribbean, help implement the U.S. Government humanitarian mine action program, which provides increased humanitarian mine action assistance to countries suffering from the presence of persistent landmines.
Date Posted:08.16.2012 17:02
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